Learning to use a graphics tablet
I set off eagerly on my new-style drawing journey, using a wonderful program, Serif Draw Plus x6, only to discover I was totally crap at using a graphics tablet. What makes it really difficult is that you have to get used to drawing on a tablet on your lap or table in front of you whilst looking straight at the computer or (in my case) the laptop screen. It’s kind of like typing without looking at your fingers. It’s possible, it takes time to learn and get used to and your brain is constantly fighting this unnatural thing you’re forcing it to do. Well, I am not one for giving up – ever – so I persevered until I really had the hang of it so now it’s okay.
The first thing I wanted to do using this graphics tablet was create images of my characters for the novel I am currently writing (not the Victorian one, no this is a different one and its taking over my life – yes one of those) but after drawing this:
I realised I need some lessons. Yes it looks like a face, has all the correct features in the correct places but looks just like what it is: a drawing. I want my ‘people’ to look a little more real. Unfortunately I cannot afford art lessons at this point in time. I will go, eventually, but I can be impatient and I want to be able to draw faces properly NOW. I can do landscapes. I can do buildings. Below is a room I did with the tablet, not too bad:
but I cannot draw faces, whether on paper or on the tablet. they always look like simple sketches. So I turned to Google for help and, surprisingly, there are loads of pages that show step by step drawing techniques and there are even plenty of videos. I like those as you can see the drawing take shape in real-time but can also pause when you need to and go back if necessary!
The first face I did after studying some Google pages was this:
Then this one:
Better but still nowhere near good enough. So I figured I would try learning the individual parts of the face, which may help me in creating a full, non-cartoon, non-simplified face. Below is what I have done so far. I am most proud of the eye. I find lips and noses particularly trying and have attempted a few different methods. I havent reached ears yet. But I think, with a lot of practice, I will get it eventually.
I must say that although certain things are far easier with the graphics tablet, like shading (you can do it in one quick stroke of the pen instead of hours of hand-breaking shading), it can also get frustrating when the shading isn’t quite as you would have done it by hand – and the erase tool on draw plus is absolute rubbish! It is at those times I wish I had a pencil and eraser in my hand 🙂 But, on the whole, I really like the graphics tablet. And, what is probably the most important aspect for me, I have started drawing again. And it is the tablet that has reignited that passion for drawing.
What do you think about graphics tablets (if you are someone who enjoys drawing)? Do you like them? Are they too limiting or do they open up a whole new world for you? Let me know in the comments below.
Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze